Monday, February 28, 2011

The First Link Between My Soul and Christ

"The first link between my soul and Christ is not my goodness, but my badness; not my merit, but my misery; not my standing, but my falling; not my riches, but my need."

--Kent Hughes

Friday, February 25, 2011

Let Me Rove No More

How Oft, Alas, This Wretched Heart
Anne Steele, 1716-1778

How oft, alas, this wretched heart
Has wandered from the Lord,
How oft my roving thoughts depart,
Forgetful of His Word.

Yet sov'reign mercy calls, "Return!"
Dear Lord, and may I come?
My vile ingratitude I mourn;
O take the wand'rer home.

And canst Thou, wilt Thou yet forgive,
And bid my crimes remove?
And shall a pardoned rebel live,
To speak Thy wondrous love?

Almighty grace, thy healing power
How glorious, how divine!
That can to life and bliss restore
So vile a heart as mine.

Thy pardoning love, so free, so sweet,
Dear Savior, I adore;
O keep me at Thy sacred feet,
And let me rove no more.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Humble Confidence

Although humble and confidence may not rest easily side-by-side in the language of our culture or of our world, they do belong together in the language of the Christian faith. For, every certainty or confidence we have as Christians is a humble one. We know that we have eternal life, but we know that we have eternal life only because it is a gift of God's grace in Jesus Christ (and a merciful assurance of his Word). Therefore, the confidence we have as Christians is a humble confidence.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Beginning of Real Christianity

"To feel our sins, and know our sickness is the beginning of real Christianity. To be sensible of our corruption and abhor our own transgressions, is the first symptom of spiritual health. Happy indeed are they who have found out their soul's disease! Let them know that Christ is the very Physician they require, and let them apply to Him without delay."

--J.C. Ryle

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Sign of Idolatry

"The sign of idolatry is always inordinate anxiety, inordinate anger, inordinate discouragement. Idols are good things (family, achievement, work and career, romance, talent, etc.) that we turn into ultimate things in order to get the significance and joy we need. Then they drive us to the ground because we have to have them. If we lose a good thing, it makes us sad. If we lose an idol, it devastates us."

--Tim Keller

Friday, February 18, 2011

'Tis Only This Dear Sacred Flood

Deep Are the Wounds Which Sin Has Made
Anne Steele, 1716-1778

Deep are the wounds which sin has made;
Where shall the sinner find a cure?
In vain, alas! is human aid;
The work exceeds all human power.

Sin, like a raging fever, reigns,
With fatal strength in every part;
The dire contagion fills the veins,
And spreads the poison to the heart.

And can no sovereign balm be found?
And is no kind physician nigh,
To ease the pain and heal the wound,
E’re life and hope forever fly?

There is a great Physician near;
Look up, O fainting soul, and live.
See, in His heavenly smiles appear
Such ease as nature cannot give.

See, in the Savior's precious blood,
Life, health, and bliss abundant flow!
'Tis only this dear sacred flood
Can ease thy pain and heal thy woe.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Our Difficulty with Prayer

Prayer, an activity which seems so simple in theory, is often anything but simple. In fact, it remains a constant difficulty for most of us. If we’re honest, the difficulty arises because prayer feels like a waste of time. We live in a society in which inactivity and inefficiency are deadly sins. And since prayer feels inefficient for many of us, we begin to question its value. When we fail to see visible and tangible results to our prayers, we can grow discouraged and lose heart. Consequently, we begin praying less and less, until eventually we find ourselves not praying at all.

If you find yourself struggling in this area (and who among us doesn't?), I would strongly recommend Paul Miller's A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World. Another book I would recommend is D.A. Carson's A Call to Spiritual Reformation: Priorities from Paul and His Prayers. I have found them both to be very helpful and practical resources.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Note to Those Who Write for or Speak to Public Audiences

"God does not much mind bad grammar, but He does not take any particular pleasure in it."


Monday, February 14, 2011

To Be Prayerless Is to Be Christless

"A praying Master, like Jesus, can have no prayerless servants. The Spirit of adoption will always make a man call upon God. To be prayerless is to be Christless, Godless, and on the high road to destruction."

--J.C. Ryle

A Good Day

Even though the undeniable signs of winter still linger, today is a reminder that spring is quickly approaching. Today, pitchers and catchers have reported to Spring Training, which means Opening Day of the Major League Baseball season is only 45 days away!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Full Atonement! Can It Be?

Hallelujah! What a Savior
Philip P. Bliss, 1838-1876

Man of Sorrows! what a name
For the Son of God, who came,
Ruined sinners to reclaim.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Bearing shame and scoffing rude,
In my place condemned He stood;
Sealed my pardon with His blood.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Guilty, vile, and helpless we;
Spotless Lamb of God was He;
“Full atonement!” can it be?
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Lifted up was He to die;
“It is finished!” was His cry;
Now in Heav’n exalted high.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

When He comes, our glorious King,
All His ransomed home to bring,
Then anew His song we’ll sing:
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

On Provoking Your Children

A great post here on ways parents can provoke their children to anger (in disobedience to Ephesians 6:4). These are worth pondering.

HT: Vitamin Z

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Evangelicals Living Off of Borrowed Capital

"Too often American evangelicals have settled for a Christology that can be reduced to a bumper sticker....Today's American evangelicals may be quick to speak of their love for Jesus, even wear their devotion on their sleeve, literally....But they may not be so quick to articulate an orthodox view of the object of their devotion. Their devotion is commendable, but the lack of a rigorous theology behind it means that a generation of contemporary evangelicals is living off of borrowed capital."

--Stephen Nichols, Jesus Made in America

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Monday, February 7, 2011

Cheap Grace

"Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession, absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate."

--Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship

Friday, February 4, 2011

Let God Alone Be Magnified

God of Salvation, We Adore
Philip Doddridge, 1702-1751

God of salvation, we adore
Thy saving love, Thy saving pow'r;
And to our utmost stretch of thought,
Hail the redemption Thou hast wrought.

We love the stroke that breaks our chain,
The sword by which our sins are slain;
And while abased in dust we bow,
We sing the grace that lays us low.

Perish each thought of human pride;
Let God alone be magnified.
His glory let the heav'ns resound,
Shouted from earth's remotest bound.

Saints, who His full salvation know,
Saints, who can but taste it here below,
Join every angel's voice to raise
Continued never-ending praise.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Jesus, Our Supreme Treasure

"When a person is born anew and experiences repentance, his attitude about Jesus changes. Jesus himself becomes the central focus and supreme value of life. Before the new birth happens and repentance occurs, a hundred other things seem more important and more attractive....But when God gives the radical change of new birth and repentance, Jesus himself becomes our supreme treasure."

--John Piper, What Jesus Demands from the World